Bill Richardson Withdraws From Commerce Post
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama’s commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract.
Richardson’s withdrawal was the first disruption of Obama’s Cabinet process and the second “pay-to-play” investigation that has touched Obama’s transition to the presidency. The president-elect has remained above the fray in both the case of arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the New Mexico case.
A federal grand jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson’s political activities won a New Mexico transportation contract worth more than $1 million. Richardson said in a statement issued by the Obama transition office that the investigation could take weeks or months but expressed confidence it will show he and his administration acted properly.
Good for Richardson for doing the honorable thing. With the information to date, I think it’s likely it’s going to be found that he did nothing improper. If that’s the case, I hope he has another opportunity to serve on the Federal level. He’s a capable politician who has done, from all accounts, a good job as governor of New Mexico.